As President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union address last night, the Twittersphere was, unsurprisingly, abuzz with commentary and reactions. To show which parts of the speech struck a chord — or a nerve —  Twitter data viz whiz Nicolas Belmonte created the following interactive visualization. It attempts to gauge the resonance of the various topics Obama addressed by linking every paragraph in the speech to the thousands of Tweets submitted directly in response, and geographically tracing where those Tweets originated.


The chart’s line thickness represents the frequency at which specific topics were discussed on Twitter at that given moment. Clicking on any moment on the timeline spans to the exact paragraph referenced in the transcript, with a  map displaying the state-by-state level of Twitter engagement in response to that topic.

The image at right shows the three moments of the speech that spurred the most conversation, as measured in tweets per minute (according to Twitter’s analysis). Not far behind were tweets responses to Obama’s discussion of climate change and his reference to House Speaker John Boehner as the “son of a barkeeper.”

  • reverenddude

    very interesting.


Matthew Green

Matthew Green runs KQED’s News Education Project, an online resource for educators and the general public to help explain the news. The project lives at

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